Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lenzing starts world’s largest Lycoell fibre plant (2014)

This appeared on the Fibre2Fashion website and Courtaulds gets a rare mention. It will be interesting to learn where the 67,000 tonnes of Tencel from the new line said to be "running at full capacity" is being sold.

September 19, 2014 (Austria)

Within 24 months of starting construction, Austria based Lenzing AG has started commercial production at the world’s largest production facility for Lyocell fibers.

The plant which is now running at full capacity was set up at an investment of € 150 million and will produce Tencel fibre.

Lenzing said the setting up of the Tencel production plant in Austria went according to plan, both financially and in terms of time.

This new factory in Lenzing is the first in the industry to feature a single production line with an annual nominal capacity of 67,000 tons.

The new plant design incorporates lessons learnt with experience from three existing Lenzing Group Tencel production plants in Austria, USA and UK.

As a result, the new Tencel plant in Lenzing represents the world’s leading generation of Tencel technology, Lenzing explained.

Lenzing said with Tencel, it offers the industry a fiber material for the future and in terms of ecology and innovative strength, the fiber represents a milestone.

The fiber producer said, “A plethora of textile applications has been derived from the new generation of fibers from activewear to denim and shirting in which Tencel has proven its strength.”

“Until now woven products made from Tencel were promoted. However, new Tencel fibers for knitwear applications lead us to perceive tremendous potential in the fashion knitwear segment”, Robert Kerkhof, CCO at Lenzing said.

“Thanks to its bright colors and more attractive appearance, Tencel will set a new standard in this sector too,” he added.

The search for a cellulose fiber with an ecological and economic production process led researchers to Lyocell.

Lenzing and the former fiber producers, Courtaulds, nurtured Lyocell to market maturity as a result of intensive research work and their strong belief in the new fiber of the future.

The first production facility was started in 1992 and in 2004 Lenzing was able to pool all of its resources as a result of buying the Tencel brand and capitalize on this expertise in fiber production.

As a result of purchasing the Tencel brand name, Lenzing was able to market the entire Lyocell business under this well known fiber name. (AR)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2011)

More from the Lenzing Annual Reports...

  • Tencel selling at a 35% premium over viscose
  • Tencel sales to nonwovens now above 40,000 tonnes per annum.
  • Wipes, Face Masks, Medical, Battery Separators, Capacitor dielectrics mentioned as key applications
  • TencelWeb(R) (spunlaid Tencel) is "the biggest development project at present"
In 2011, we not only placed considerable emphasis on volume growth. The steps we took to further expand and upgrade our capacities for the specialty fibers Lenzing Modal® at the Lenzing site and TENCEL® at our plants in Heiligenkreuz/Burgenland (Austria) and Grimsby (Great Britain), completed in 2011, were just as important in ensuring qualitative growth.  Furthermore, we applied for official approval to construct a new TENCEL® production facility in Lenzing with a capacity of 60,000 tons. Our objective is to further consolidate our leading technological, qualitative and quantitative position for TENCEL® fibers in coming decades.

The year 2011 also proceeded gratifyingly for TENCEL® textile fibers. Considering the entire year, TENCEL® continually obtained higher prices, and thus clearly distinguished itself from the general market trend. The price premium of TENCEL® textile fibers compared to Lenzing’s standard viscose fibers was more than 35% on average in 2011. One of the main reasons for this development was the continuing growth in the range of applications for TENCEL®. Accordingly, TENCEL® is not only found in the world of fashion, but increasingly integrated into home textiles. With respect to bed linens, TENCEL® fibers exploit their moisture management properties and are winning over a growing number of friends. The specialty fiber TENCEL® A100 used in the activewear and life style segments also achieved very good market successes.

Sales of TENCEL® fibers produced in an environmentally compatible manner are also being driven by an enhanced environmental awareness. Similar to Lenzing Modal®, Far Eastern sales markets for TENCEL® textile fibers proved to be more attractive in 2011 than their counterparts in the industrialized nations of the West. On balance, the average selling price per kilogram for Lenzing’s nonwoven fibers could be raised by close to 14% in 2011 to EUR 2.04/kg. Shipment volumes climbed by about 4% to 206,000 tons, thus accounting for almost 30% of Lenzing’s total fiber shipment volumes.  TENCEL® fibers comprised close to one fifth of nonwoven fiber shipment volumes.

In 2011 Lenzing succeeded in further expanding its market leader position for cellulosic nonwoven fibers used in the production of wipes. Lenzing profited from the strong demand along the value chain for fibers manufactured in an environmentally compatible manner but offering correspondingly good performance. Lenzing was granted PEFC1 certification in 2011 for all its nonwoven products manufactured in Lenzing. This certificate as well as the Lenzing nonwoven FSC2 certification ensures consumers that the raw material wood is derived from sustainable forestry. In addition to the major successes with baby wipes, market success was also achieved in the fields of cosmetics, household goods and industry in 2011. The cooperation with private label manufacturers was further intensified. Lenzing is also supporting its customers on the cost side with innovative products made possible by technical improvements, for example low weight.

An increasing number of global partners of Lenzing’s nonwoven fibers are relying on the positive reputation of the brands Lenzing Viscose® and TENCEL®. This trend strengthens the cooperation with important partners along the entire value chain. For example, at the end of 2010, a Japanese retailer launched an improved version of its baby wipes made of 100% TENCEL® on the market. The retailer conveys his trust in the brand to his customers on the basis of the reference on the label to TENCEL® in the accompanying advertising materials. The high quality baby wipes were granted the “Kids Design Excellence Award” in September 2011. Cosmetic facial masks made of nonwovens play an important role with Asian consumers. Here TENCEL® is also gaining in importance. Thanks to the pleasantly soft structure of the material which feels silky, an increasing number of skin-friendly facial masks are being manufactured with TENCEL®.

Medical applications comprised a further focal point in 2011. The use of Lenzing’s nonwoven fibers for hygienic applications developed stably.


In the reporting year Lenzing also pressed ahead with the development of other non-filbrillating types of TENCEL® fibers. Due to their special properties these fibers are particularly suited for use in process-critical segments, for example in knitwear. For the first time TENCEL® fibers were successfully integrated into car seat covers in combination with polyester. The biggest technological challenge for the researchers in Lenzing is fulfilling the specifications of automobile manufacturers with respect to wet rub fastness and light fastness. In particular, the enhanced sitting comfort resulting from the outstanding moisture management of TENCEL® is a good reason for integrating the fiber into car seat covers.

In the technical segment, Lenzing achieved good success in 2011 with capacitors to compensate for peak electricity demand in motor vehicles. In this case TENCEL® nonwoven products were deployed as separators for an optimal ion exchange, thus enhancing the performance of the capacitors. Increased sales with TENCEL® nonwoven applications were also reported for lithium-ion batteries for electric-powered vehicles. Following the successful market launch of TENCEL® powder in mattress foam in 2010, Lenzing’s efforts in 2011 focused on scientifically evaluating expanding applications to other areas such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and detergents.  Furthermore, research was carried out in the reporting year on a completely new cellulose product from the lyocell technology. This refers to a gel consisting of submicroscopic  TENCEL® fibrids which can form clear and closed films in drying. This new type of TENCEL® gel could be used in a broad range of applications in the future, from coatings for paper or nonwovens to the paint and lacquer industry.

During the year under review Lenzing also pressed ahead with the biggest development project at present, i. e. TencelWeb™. This innovative technology enables TENCEL® nonwovens to be directly produced from the spinning solution, which features a high share of microfibers as  well as low weight. Further process and product optimization work was carried out in the pilot facility in 2011 along with the generation of customer samples.

Another focal point of the research carried out in the nonwovens segment in 2011 was the production of microfibers. Initial laboratory tests concluded that these microfibers have outstanding properties when used in battery separators.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tencel Jumbo starts at Lenzing (2014)

The Lenzing Group has successfully initiated production at its new TENCEL® jumbo production facility, the largest in the world, at the Lenzing site in Upper Austria. The plant is in the midst of a stable ramp-up phase. The feedback on the part of the market is very positive.
“We are more than satisfied with the progression of the start-up curve. Based on the production process in the past days and weeks, we have reasonable grounds to believe that this latest generation of TENCEL® technology will completely fulfill our expectations”, says a confident Lenzing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Untersperger. “The successful start-up of production operations is a technological milestone for TENCEL®, the fiber of the future, and for the entire Lenzing Group. We are optimistic that we will be able to achieve the planned production target of 30,000 tons by the end of 2014. This new TENCEL® facility is decisive to ensure the long-term viability of fiber production at the Lenzing site and the basis for future investments in all markets”, adds Lenzing’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Friedrich Weninger.
This factory comprises the first time in which a single production line with an annual nominal capacity of 67,000 tons was installed. Previous TENCEL® production lines were usually only one-quarter as large. The new plant design incorporates lessons learned from the longstanding experience of three existing Lenzing Group TENCEL® production plants located in Austria, USA and Great Britain. As a consequence, the new TENCEL® plant in Lenzing represents the world’s leading generation of TENCEL® technology. The new design of the jumbo production line also enables investment costs to be maintained at a very competitive level of approximately EUR 150 mn (about EUR 2,200 per ton of capacity). This comprises the decisive approach to the further competitive scaling of TENCEL® fibers as a universally deployable textile and nonwoven fiber. The new, broader product portfolio on the basis of the TENCEL® technology successfully complements Lenzing’s specialty strategy.
With a construction time of 24 months, Lenzing completely adhered to both the budgeted investment costs as well as all timetables. The TENCEL® production in Lenzing secures 140 jobs at the Lenzing site.
Thanks to the new plant, annual nominal TENCEL® production capacity of the Lenzing Group will rise from 155,000 tons p.a. to about 220,000 tons. In this way Lenzing will further expand upon its global market leadership for TENCEL® fibers and offer its global customers new expansion opportunities in both the textile and nonwovens segments as well as new and innovative applications. “The related market development activities have already been in full swing for quite a few months”, states Robert van de Kerkhof, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Lenzing responsible for the fiber business. Moreover, new technical applications will be opened up and massively expanded in the years to come.
Source:  Lenzing Press Release

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports 2010 - Part 2

The unusually large mention of Tencel in the 2010 report continues with coverage of expansion plans, integration of Fibre with Pulp production, growth in nonwoven wipes, Tencel powders, Tencel with Chitosan, Tencel derivatives for Gel Dressings and spunlaid Tencel nonwovens.

In December 2010, further, far-reaching fundamental decisions were made as the basis for ensuring the medium-term growth of the Lenzing Group. It was decided to build the first TENCEL production plant in Lenzing (Upper Austria), with planned investments of about EUR 130 mill. required to achieve an annual capacity of approximately 60,000 tons. It will be the first backward integrated TENCEL. plant in the world which can be directly supplied by pulp manufactured by the pulp factory in Lenzing. Furthermore, it was also resolved to invest in the expansion of the TENCEL facility in Mobile (Alabama) with investment  costs of close to USD 30 mill., enabling capacity to be raised to about 50,000 tons. The production line shut down by the previous owner will be modernized and re-equipped as a means of satisfying the strong demand for TENCEL fibers in North and South America.

Cooperation in the field of baby products with the leading U.S. retailer Costco could be further intensified. In this regard, Lenzing benefits from the trend towards own brands, which opens up new perspectives to carry out cobranding activities with brands such as TENCEL and thus raise awareness of Lenzing brands among a very broad consumer base.

TENCEL displays a wide range of useful features, for example when used as TENCEL powder incorporated into mattress foam to improve moisture management. In cooperation with partners, corresponding products were prepared to be launched on the marketplace.

Other potential application areas of TENCEL powder are as plaster (used in the construction industry), in fiber-reinforced plastics, and as a replacement for fiberglass incorporated into injection molded parts.

A further new area of application for TENCEL fibers is in upholstery fabrics used in homes and in hotels. TENCEL has enabled the fabric to achieve excellent utility values (abrasion resistance), which are far superior to those of cotton.

The specialty fiber TENCEL C was also developed to market maturity. It features the application of chitosan, a natural raw material extracted from the shells of crustaceans, to the fibers. This process improves the already outstanding skinfriendliness of TENCEL fibers.

The largest development project currently being undertaken in the nonwovens area is TencelWeb. This new technology enables the production of TENCEL nonwovens from very fine filaments directly from the spinning solution. These filaments feature a large share of microfibers and a low weight. This innovative nonwoven was further optimized in cooperation with key customers. The nonwovens are to be incorporated into hygiene products and filter media.

Other research projects involved the development of products for wound treatment, a segment in which TENCEL in gel form is used as a wound dressing. TENCEL is also used as a replacement for the cotton incorporated into such well-established products such as gauze and cotton wool.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports 2010 - Part 1

This report has more on Tencel and Lenzing's enthusiasm for the Courtaulds concept of the Cellulose Gap than any previous report and will be split over 2 posts...

... market experts expect that cotton will not be able to sufficiently fulfill demand for high quality fibers boasting high wearing comfort despite the extensive use of genetically modified cotton plants. This shortage will lead to a so called “cellulose gap” which cannot be fi lled on the basis of the anticipated growth of production volumes for man-made cellulose fi bers at the present time. Additional factors in Lenzing’s favor are the outstanding technical properties of Lenzing fibers as well as the fact that the company is the only global supplier which can offer all three generations of man-made cellulose fibers, i.e. Lenzing Viscose., Lenzing Modal. and TENCEL.

Lenzing “Full Win”

On the basis of these fundamental considerations, Lenzing redefined its strategic objectives leading up to the year 2014 as follows: 

More than one million tons of Lenzing fibers are to be produced and marketed annually, of which more than one-third are specialty fibers  (Lenzing Modal., TENCEL.), enabling an average double-digit percentage sales growth and a simultaneous margin improvement, with about 700,000 tons of the required pulp supply derived from its own production capabilities.

Lenzing aims to achieve these targets by implementing the biggest expansion program in its corporate history, with expansion investments planned at almost all of its production facilities across the globe.

The positive market development in the second half of 2009 continued in 2010 as well. Demand for Lenzing fibers on the part of the textile and nonwovens industry could only be partially satisfied despite the expansion of production capacities in 2010.

The reason for this development was the long-term market trend towards the increased use of Lenzing Viscose., Lenzing Modal and TENCEL. fibers as described in the previous section of this report. In addition, the overall economic recovery combined with a broad-based upturn in private consumption also contributed to growth. In fact, the markets in Asia tended 
to overheat as a result already in the first half of 2010. Ultimately cotton prices exploded as of the third quarter 2010 due to the perceived danger of a physical shortage as a consequence of flood catastrophes in Pakistan and India. This
prematurely ended the expected normalization of the price situation in the second half of the year.

The TENCEL production facility in Heiligenkreuz, Austria also raised total capacity by 10,000 tons to about 60,000tons as of the 2011 business year thanks to a corresponding investment program. The TENCEL factory in Grimsby (Great Britain) carried out refurbishment investments, allowing for a considerable increase in production capacities for the TENCEL specialty fiber A-100 although total capacity remained the same.